Ready for the Next Crisis? Investing in Health System Resilience

image of Ready for the Next Crisis? Investing in Health System Resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic had massive consequences for societies and health systems across the OECD and beyond. Health systems were not resilient enough. Resilient health systems plan and are ready for shocks, such as pandemics, economic crises or the effects of climate change. They are able to minimise the negative consequences of crises, recover as quickly as possible, and adapt to become better performing and more prepared. Smart, targeted investments in health system resilience are needed to improve health and ensure the next shock is less disruptive and costly. This report reviews the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and applies them to build policy recommendations to ensure the global community is ready for the next crisis. The reviews and recommendations cover health system issues – including workforce, digitalisation, continuity of care and mental health – and other topics, including long-term care, supply chains and international co-operation.


COVID‑19 outcomes across OECD countries

The impact of COVID‑19 has been substantially different across OECD countries. This chapter offers an exploratory assessment of the impact of health system capacity and government strategies on COVID‑19 outcomes until December 2021. The aim is to provide insights into why certain OECD countries had better outcomes over the first two years of the COVID‑19 pandemic (2020‑21) and how policy makers can shift their health systems to be better prepared for future challenges. After controlling for core demographic and economic factors, indicators of increased health system capacity and access to high-quality care were associated with better COVID‑19 outcomes. Higher COVID‑19 vaccination rates were also associated with lower excess mortality, as were certain measures of trust. Health risk factors and social risk factors also influenced outcomes. Beyond national aggregates, the chapter highlights how older people, socially disadvantaged populations, and ethnic minority groups suffered more from the pandemic than others. The main indirect effects of the pandemic are also analysed.


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